Jason Altmire

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Jason Altmire
Jason Altmire Official Headshot.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 4th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byMelissa Hart
Succeeded byConstituency abolished (Districts redrawn)
Personal details
Born (1968-03-07) March 7, 1968 (age 51)
Kittanning, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Kelly Altmire
Children2
ResidenceMcCandless, Pennsylvania (1998-2012)
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida (2012-present)
EducationFlorida State University
George Washington University
OccupationPolitical assistant
Health care executive
Websitewww.jasonaltmire.com

Jason Altmire (born March 7, 1968) is the former U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district, serving from 2007 until 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life and education[edit]

Altmire was born in western Pennsylvania, where he was raised an only child in a single parent home. A record-breaking high school athlete, he set a school record in track and field and was recognized as an all-star wide receiver in football before a serious knee injury kept him off the athletic field as a senior. In 1986, he matriculated at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. Following a lengthy rehabilitation of his knee injury, he tried out for and made the Seminole football team as a walk on.[1][2] He graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in Political Science and worked in the Tallahassee campaign office of Douglas "Pete" Peterson, then a candidate for Congress in Florida's Second Congressional District.[3] He later earned a Master's in Health Administration from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Career[edit]

Congressional aide[edit]

After Peterson won the 1990 congressional race against incumbent Republican Congressman Bill Grant, he hired Altmire to work in his Capitol Hill office. Altmire worked as a legislative assistant during Peterson's three terms in office (1991–1996), specializing in domestic policy issues.[4] He gained an expertise in health care issues and helped Peterson draft several major health care proposals. In 1993, Altmire was appointed to a working group for President Clinton's Task Force on National Health Care Reform.[5] In 1996, when Peterson was named U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Altmire continued his work in health care policy by taking a job with the Federation of American Hospitals.

Healthcare lobbyist[edit]

In 1998, Altmire returned to Western Pennsylvania to work for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). By 2005, he was the acting Vice President for Government Relations and Community Health Services. His duties at UPMC included oversight of UPMC's Office of Charitable Giving, which had primary discretion over UPMC's then $6 million in annual charitable donations. He also represented UPMC in discussions with government officials and local community organizations.[6] During this time, Altmire was a frequent volunteer and community activist, serving on the boards of more than a dozen community and civic organizations. In recognition of his community service, in 2003 he was named by Pittsburgh Magazine as one of Pittsburgh's "40 under 40",[7] and in 2005 he was awarded the Arcadia Award by Northern Allegheny Chamber of Commerce. The Arcadia Award is presented annually to the local business leader who most exemplifies dedication to community service.[8]

Congressman[edit]

Elections[edit]

Altmire left UPMC in June 2005 to run against three-term incumbent Republican U.S. Congresswoman Melissa Hart of Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district, who was considered by most observers to be invulnerable. In May 2006, Altmire won the Democratic primary, defeating millionaire businesswoman Georgia Berner, 55%–45%. In the 2006 general election, Altmire campaigned relentlessly and raised over $1 million to help fund his race against Hart.[9] After polling well behind Hart early in the race, he eventually closed the gap heading into the final weeks before the election. Altmire defeated Hart, 52%–48%. In 2008, Hart ran again in a rematch. He defeated her, 56%–44%, even as John McCain carried the district by almost 11 points.

In the historic 2010 wave election that saw Democrats lose 63 seats in the U.S. House, including five in Pennsylvania, Altmire survived. He was re-elected to a third term, defeating businessman Keith Rothfus, 51%–49%. Following the 2010 census, Pennsylvania lost one congressional seat. The Republican-controlled state legislature dismantled Altmire's district, and most of its territory was merged with the neighboring 12th District, represented by fellow Democratic congressman Mark Critz, who defeated Altmire 51% to 49% in the primary election. Critz went on to lose the 2012 general election to Rothfus, Altmire's 2010 opponent.[10]

Tenure[edit]

Altmire had a moderate voting record and was regularly identified as a centrist in Congress by non-partisan publications.[11][12] He did not miss a single vote during his first two terms and continued the unbroken voting streak into his sixth year in office, which was the longest House vote streak during that time. The streak finally ended at 4734 consecutive votes when Altmire missed votes while attending a White House ceremony for Leslie H. Sabo, Jr. a constituent posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama.[13] Over the course of his six years in office, he returned more than $1 million in unspent office funds, citing a desire to lead by example and be a steward of taxpayer money.[14]

Altmire fought to guarantee enlistment bonuses of combat-wounded veterans.[15][16] He forced a 2007 policy change allowing Vietnam-era Gold Star families access to White House tours after a constituent was denied,[17] and played a leadership role in successfully amending the Family and Medical Leave Act to add a provision covering military guard and reserve families.[18][19][20][21]

Altmire opposed the use of Chinese-made steel in the construction of the U.S.- Mexico border fence.[22] Following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Altmire helped in the rescue of two constituents and the 54 orphans under their care.[23] He served on the House-Senate conference committees for the 2007 College Cost Reduction Act,[24] the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill,[25] and the 2008 Higher Education Act,[26] all of which became law. From 2007 to 2010, he served as chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation,[27] during which time he took the lead in passing through the House his legislation to help small businesses acquire private capital investment.[28][29] He also authored the legislation that ended the late enrollment penalty for low-income seniors participating in the Medicare Part D program.[30] In 2009, Altmire authored the amendment which broke a congressional stalemate that had for years delayed passage of an omnibus land conservation bill that combined dozens of different bills and covered millions of acres of public land.[31][32][33][34]

During the 2008 presidential primary election, both Democratic candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, actively worked to win Altmire's support as a superdelegate.[35][36][37] Altmire did not endorse either candidate and remained neutral throughout the primary. According to the book HRC by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, this could be a reason why former president Bill Clinton campaigned against Altmire four years later, when the congressman was involved in a contested primary election of his own.[37]

Altmire voted against the Affordable Care Act on March 21, 2010; he had also voted against earlier versions of the bill.[38][39] His vote on final passage of the bill was highly sought after by President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders.[40][41] According to Washington Post health care policy writer CeCi Connolly, "Altmire, more than most in Congress, understood the intricacies of health-care policy. As a congressional aide in the 1990s, he had worked on Clinton's failed effort and later became a hospital executive."[42] Days before the vote on final passage of the bill, President Obama had personally tried to persuade Altmire, telling him "I want to give you something to think about before the vote. Picture yourself on Monday morning. You wake up and look at the paper. It's the greatest thing Congress has done in 50 years. And you were on the wrong team."[43][44][38] After leaving Congress in 2013, Altmire became the executive of a Florida health insurance company and expressed support for the Affordable Care Act.[45]

Committee assignments[edit]

Return to private sector[edit]

In January 2013, Altmire began work as a Senior Vice President for Florida's Blue Cross Blue Shield Company.[46][47] During his time there, he worked to implement of the Affordable Care Act in Florida, which was a reversal of the stance he took while he was in Congress, when he opposed the ACA.[48] In 2015 he was appointed chairman of the Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropy associated with Florida's Blue Cross Blue Shield Company.[49] In August 2017, he left the company in order to promote his book, Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America And What We Can Do About It.[50][51] In February 2019, Altmire was named a senior advisor to the health care consulting firm Avalere Health.[52]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://thehill.com/capital-living/in-the-know/72647-glory-days-altmire-recalls-his-season-with-fsu-football-coach-bobby-bowden
  2. ^ https://www.palmbeachpost.com/article/20130611/BUSINESS/812055653
  3. ^ "PETERSON, Douglas Brian (Pete) - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov.
  4. ^ "PETERSON, Douglas Brian (Pete) – Biographical Information". Bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  5. ^ "Washington Post, March 30, 1993"
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 29, 2005 http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05149/511086-54.stm
  7. ^ 2003 Pittsburgh Magazine "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2008-03-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Pgh Tribune-Review, May 1, 2005." http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/search/s_329737.html[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Congressional Races Archived 2008-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Armas, Genaro. "GOP's Rothfus beats incumbent Critz in W. Pa. race". Associated Press.
  11. ^ "A Former Congressman Explains Our Divided Country - Political Wire". 3 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-08-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Prose, J.D. "Altmire's voting streak ends for a good reason". Beaver County Times. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  14. ^ Prose, J.D. (5 November 2012). "Big returns: Altmire gives back $1 million". Beaver County Times. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  15. ^ Fox & Friends, November 26, 2007 -https://www.youtube.com/user/congressmanaltmire#p/c/C86ED024DF6FAC6A/13/l-9-H6840Zc
  16. ^ "The military signing bonus squabble".
  17. ^ Meli, Maryalice (July 3, 2007). "Lawmaker comes to aid of gold star mother". New Castle News. Retrieved July 3, 2007.
  18. ^ "House Passes Leave Time for Military Families - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi". 17 May 2007.
  19. ^ "- THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: EXTENDING COVERAGE TO MILITARY FAMILIES LEFT AT HOME". www.gpo.gov.
  20. ^ "Report" (PDF). mvplaw.com.
  21. ^ "Report" (PDF). lawrecord.com.
  22. ^ "Altmire to inspect border fence parts". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. 2007-07-11. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18.
  23. ^ Maher, Kris (January 19, 2010). "Pennsylvania Allies Help Dozens of Orphans Make It to America". The Wall Street Journal.
  24. ^ "H. Rept. 110-317 - COLLEGE COST REDUCTION AND ACCESS ACT". www.congress.gov.
  25. ^ "H. Rept. 110-477 - NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008". www.congress.gov.
  26. ^ "H. Rept. 110-803 - HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY ACT". www.congress.gov.
  27. ^ Staff, NCNews. "Altmire to chair subcommittee".
  28. ^ Olson, Elizabeth (25 October 2007). "Venture capital at crux of U.S. bill" – via NYTimes.com.
  29. ^ "- ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING". www.gpo.gov.
  30. ^ Sherman, Jerome (2007-03-25). "Altmire targets Part D penalties". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  31. ^ "Landmark wilderness bill becomes law".
  32. ^ Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2018-01-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "C-SPAN Printable Congressional Record". www.c-span.org.
  35. ^ Sheehy, Gail. "Hillaryland at War".
  36. ^ Baker, Peter; Rutenberg, Jim (8 June 2008). "The Long Road to a Clinton Exit" – via NYTimes.com.
  37. ^ a b Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, "HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton," Crown Publishers, New York, 2014.
  38. ^ a b Helfrich, Jesse (2016-02-10). "The chaotic fight for ObamaCare". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  39. ^ McManus, Doyle (March 14, 2010). "Will the 'Blue Dogs' hunt for Obama?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  40. ^ Strassel, Kimberley A. (19 March 2010). "Will Altmire Walk the Plank?" – via www.wsj.com.
  41. ^ Kane, Sandhya Somashekhar and Paul (18 March 2010). "Democrats yet to decide on health-care bill bear the weight of Washington" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  42. ^ Connolly, CeCi, Landmark: The Inside Story of America's New Health-Care law--The Affordable Care Act--and What It Means for Us All," Public Affairs Press, New York, 2010, page 57.
  43. ^ "How Obama revived his health-care bill". ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  44. ^ Zimmermann, Eric (2010-03-23). "Obama's hard sell". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  45. ^ "ACA foe now a supporter". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  46. ^ Jameson, Marni (March 23, 2014). "Jason Altmire: Ex-congressman discusses politics of Obamacare". Orlando Sentinel.
  47. ^ Brino, Anthony (December 26, 2012). "Outgoing Congressman Altmire joining Florida Blue". Healthcare Payer News. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  48. ^ Haberkorn, Jennifer (5 June 2013). "ACA foe now a supporter". Politico.
  49. ^ "Press Release: The Florida Blue Foundation Elects Board of Directors". Florida Blue Foundation. March 3, 2015.
  50. ^ Schorsch, Peter (31 July 2017). "Jason Altmire to depart Florida Blue in advance of new book". Florida Politics.
  51. ^ Evans, Garrett (4 October 2017). "Former House Dem tackles polarized politics in new book". The Hill.
  52. ^ https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-pulse/2019/02/06/what-trump-said-about-health-care-in-the-state-of-the-union-504066

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Melissa Hart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district

2007–2013
Succeeded by
Scott Perry